ABSTRACT

Few issues generated the volume or intensity of debate that policing and police reform did in the post-ceasefire period. Momentum towards police reform had been gathering prior to the ceasefires, but the developing peace process brought into sharp relief the role that policing would play in any overall political settlement. In this chapter, I examine the dynamics and contours of the reform debate between the 1994 paramilitary ceasefires and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. In the first section, I discuss the emergence of the debate and examine, in particular, the RUC’s response to widespread calls for reform. Second, I examine the various official reform proposals and highlight their general focus on issues of organizational efficiency, in a logical extension of the normalization policy pursued through police primacy throughout the conflict. The final section considers the issue of community involvement in policing structures.